"If I win, I'll have a fight with my husband," said Lisa Youngblut of Indianola as she purchased a ticket for herself and 20 for relatives in Florida. "I want to invest it all, and he wants to invest it in playing every golf course in America."
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 8-39-43-45-49 and Powerball 13. Officials didn't expect to know if there was a winning ticket or tickets until early Thursday morning.
With 80.1 million possible combinations, a player's chance of winning was remote. Still, lottery officials said there's about a 90 percent chance that at least one of the 150 million tickets expected to be sold by the drawing will hit the jackpot.
Long lines were reported at many of the 45,000 retailers in the 20 participating states and the District of Columbia, particularly in border towns forced to accommodate swarms of players from non-Powerball states.
Connecticut retailers, who had been coping for days with lines swollen by players from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, encountered more headaches Wednesday when lottery machines went off line. The glitch blamed on delays in balancing electronic books was fixed after several hours.
"The line stayed where it was for two hours," said Patrick Leddy of Great Neck, N.Y., who waited with about 50 other people outside Shippan Candies in Stamford, Conn. "I was griping. I was antsy. Everybody was pretty antsy."
In Arizona, retailers sold stacks of tickets to players arriving from California and Nevada. Carolyn St. Mars, a storeowner in Yuma, Ariz., said one Los Angeles man spent $1,000 hoping to land a lucky ticket.
"We gave him a cup of coffee and a chair, he bought a pack of cigarettes and went outside and waited for the 20 minutes it took us to run them all through," she said.
Paying heed to an astrologer's advice, Karen Swenson trekked 66 miles from her home in Utah, to Malad City, Idaho.
"My planets were aligned," Swenson said. "If I'm as lucky as the fortune teller said, I may need only one."
The jackpot, the largest in U.S. history, has surprised lottery officials, who said the chance of the prize getting this large is 0.4 percent.
"When you hear about those long lines back East, and people getting angry ... that kind of makes you feel like Dr. Frankenstein," said Ed Stanek, commissioner of the Iowa Lottery and creator of the Powerball game.
The jackpot has not been hit since May 23 when a group of Missouri utility workers shared a $10 million prize. That drawing came three days after Frank and Shirley Capaci of Streamwood, Ill., won a $195 million Powerball jackpot, the previous record.
Players selecfive numbers from a pool of 49 and the Powerball from a pool of 42. A single winner in Wednesday night's drawing could win, before taxes, $11.7 million annually for the next 25 years. Or a single winner could choose a lump-sum payment of $159.7 million, before taxes.
So what if nobody's dream comes true and the nation has to go through this all over again Saturday with a larger jackpot?
"I'm not ready to think about that yet," Stanek said.
Written by Mike Branom ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed